Friday, May 25, 2012

It's not what you spend it's who you know

Two separate incidents this week are behind my reason for this post. I've been trying to work out how best to give this blog a focus or structure and one of the ideas is for it to become a place where we can all rave about products or services which we love and particularly those businesses set up by people we know personally and really admire. It's recognised that one of the most powerful forms of marketing is direct recommendations from people we know/ word of mouth. Traditional advertising is so expensive and indirect for many small businesses so we should take it upon ourselves to sing the praises of all the hard working talented people we know who are striving in their own enterprises whatever they might be. Supporting those close to us helps ensure our hard earned money stays within our own communities which ultimately brings benefits back to all of us.

So I'll kick things off with two shout outs.....!

On Monday I recieved an email from my friend Nikki putting me on to a range of bath and skin products for little ones Made 4 Baby. Nikki knows I have been having massive problems with dermatitis to the point where I am bathing my kids with plastic gloves on! So she put me onto the best product range she knew of which also happens to be created by her good friend Rebecca McLeod. By recommending Made for Baby Nikki has saved me squandering my time and money and the remaining skin on my hands trying out whatever  products catch my attention simply because they can spend the most on advertising. Website above or 'Like' Made 4 Baby on facebook.

Deahne Lakatani is the talent behind gorgeous girls clothing label Noah & Bells and I've been following them on facebook and online since meeting her briefly several years ago through a common friend. I have since 'liked' the facebook page and have made several purchases through the amazing 'facebook friends' sales. I bumped into Deahne on Thursday morning and was nervous about re-introducing myself given I didn't expect her to remember me. Funny thing was we were standing amidst a group of other parents who were raving about the merits of purchasing their children's clothes online from UK retail giant Marks & Spence.....Deahne was standing right there, the creator of a brilliant original local clothing company and I am still kicking myself that I let my shyness rule and was not quick enough to re-introduce myself to her and then pipe up loudly with a skite....."why don't you try Deahne's "Noah & Bells" instead, they're brilliant value too.....". So this shout out is the next best thing. Please check her clothes out for any little girl in your life - they are beautiful, functional, original and great value. Like "Noah & Bells" on Facebook or check out the website Noah & Bells.

PLUS if you're in Auckland and have time and $ to spend then both of the above companies will also be at Mary's Market tomorrow - Freemans Bay Community Hall, 52 Hepburn St 9am - 1pm.

(I'd love to have some more shout outs to add.....for starters I'd love to recieve a friend's recommendation for Red Yeti/ Sutherland Kovach/ hint hint hint....list could go on and on and on......- do the right thing by your friends and post a comment below and I will add them all to my newly created "Companies We Love" page)

It's budget week for Misterchef

This is the week, around the 20th, when our bank account gets drained to pay off mortgage, power, phone, and just about every other bill of significance. We've scheduled them to coincide because it felt less irritating to have one bad week out of 4 as opposed to a steady stream of annoyance. Over the last 10 years we've managed to organise our budget to handle this tough week so we're no longer digging around the couch for loose change. But it can still be tight. As part of keeping my squandering ways in check I've started thinking a little harder about how to stretch our budget even further. The obvious place to start being our groceries which accounts for the biggest chunk of our weekly expenditure. Aside from planning our meals and trying to shop to a list only once a week. I am also trying to expand my culinary repertoire to focus on fruit & vege which is in season. By this stage though my kids are sick to death of corn on the cob and I have given myself hives eating vast amounts of feijoa's but we struck a winner last weekend with the hubby's version of a Cauliflower & Potato Soup ('stolen' from my weightwatchers cookbook!). It was a winner all round, and (surprisingly) especially with 8mth old George.

Matt's Cauliflower & Potato soup
1 med onion
4 med potatoes
1/2 head of cauliflower
1 teaspoon tried ground cumin
chicken stock (as much as needed for desired consistency)

fry onion in some olive oil until soft - add ground cumin
add potatoes and cauliflower and stock 
simmer until veges just cooked i.e 15 min and cauliflower not too mushy!
taste and season with salt and pepper as needed
blend to desired consistency, i.e. chunky, runny or somewhere in between
serve with crusty bread and butter

(Matt says..don't over cook the cauliflower cause the soup has better flavour and texture if you don't)

Rumour has it my brother Jono is slow cooking some mean lamb shanks in Sydney and I am pretty sure sister in law Antonia the guru behind Kai Culture in Queenstown has a few nifty tricks too. So stay tuned for more recipes and feel free to send in your own family budget friendly favourites

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Suburban mum turned fashion voyeur

An enjoyable part of my treatment for reigning in my squandering of cash has been finding simple pleasures on the internet. No not those sorts of sites, rather I have found my eye candy fix on sites devoted to street fashion. I happily wander through my favourite every day, sometimes a couple of times if I need to. Scott Schuman the man behind the site is a bit of a guru in the world of fashion photography I gather, but more from the perspective of recognising exceptional style in everyday people. I don't recognise many of the people in his pics, they're not celebs etc - he doesn't list what labels they are wearing, he just takes their picture because they are interesting to look at. His photos remind me that being 'fashionable' is not nearly as fun or expressive as being 'stylish' and to achieve style its not what you spend on the clothes its about investing time and personality into how you present yourself.

The reason I'm posting all this though is because I have found our very own NZ site doing the same type of street style fashion pics . Its put together by Wallace Chapman and its pretty cool to see the array of interesting people on our own doorstep. There is also a fab competition giveaway for May - prize being a very cool swandri bag....visit the blog above to enter.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Am I the only squanderer out there?

Actually to be precise it appears to just be me (my husband) and one other unlucky soul who have come to terms with our wastrel ways. I am thinking this because there have only been 3 votes on my first poll (see top box to your right >>> ).....oh the shame!!.....but yet I've had page views??.....hopefully over the next 5 days I'll get a few more votes and some more definitive results will emerge. I still don't know whether the new (genius) revlon lip butters, vintage snake skin handbags, dinner vouchers or theatre passes will appeal more as future prizes.....I do know which one my husband would prefer though. 

Hoping you can help me out (its completely anonymous just like the comments section too)!